Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/273

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


for any of the Great Powers of the world to sub- mit those issues which would once have been referred to the arbitrament of self-assertion and of passion, to a higher tribunal.

Ah ! but, ladies and gentlemen, it is vain, it is vain, to seek peace if you do not also ensue it. I hold that the growth of armaments is a great dan- ger to the peace of the world. A policy of huge armaments keeps alive and stimulates and feeds the belief that force is the best, if not the only, solution of international differences. It is a policy that tends to inflame old sores and to create new sores. And I submit to you that as the principle of peaceful arbitration gains ground it becomes one of the highest tasks of a statesman to adjust those armaments to the newer and happier condition of things. What nobler role could this great country assume than at the fitting moment to place itself at the head of a league of peace, through whose instrumentality this great work could be effected ?

I now pass to the question of economy and finance — a very natural transition — and I think you may look with confidence to the action that will be taken by my friend, the chancellor of the exchequer. But where are we to begin? We want two things. We want relief from the pressure of excessive taxation, and at the same time we want money to meet our own domestic needs at home, which have been too long starved and neglected owing to the demands on the tax- payer for military purposes abroad. How are 233

�� �